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zum Inhalt springen Cranach Courtyards in Lutherstadt Wittenberg © Joerg Glaescher, IMG Sachsen-Anhalt


"Maternity is a glorious thing, since all mankind has been conceived, born, and nourished of women. All human laws should encourage the multiplication of families."

Martin Luther

The Cranach Family

The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. This saying never rang truer than in the case of Lucas Cranach the Elder and his son, Lucas Cranach the Younger, two of the Reformation's most famous heroes.

Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472 - 1553)

Without the work of Lucas Cranach the Elder, we may never have known what Martin Luther looked like!

Known as the "Reformation Painter", this German artist not only lived and worked in Lutherstadt Wittenberg at the same time as Luther, but also painted his portrait in addition to likenesses of Luther's wife and parents. Although an enthusiastic supporter of the Protestant Reformation, Cranach still took commissions from important Catholics like Cardinal Albrecht of Brandenburg, Luther's main theological opponent. Despite this, Cranach made it a point to convey Lutheran ideas through his works, which in turn had a radical impact on the way religious paintings were composed.

Cranach made it a point to emphasize man's individuality; in large altarpieces, for example, he showed how faith alone was the way to salvation, positioning ordinary people in everyday settings, often close to Christ, and banishing saints and noblemen to the background.

Today, you can still visit the Cranach Courtyards in Lutherstadt Wittenberg, now a focus point for culture in the heart of the city with a fascinating exhibition and a historical print shop.

Cranach Courtyards in Lutherstadt Wittenberg © LutherCountryCranach's Grave at St Jacobs Cemetery in Weimar© LutherCountry 

Lucas Cranach the Younger (1515 – 1586)

This German artist was born in Lutherstadt Wittenberg as the second and youngest son of Lucas Cranach the Elder. Like his older brother Hans, he followed in his father's footsteps and worked in the family-owned workshops.

Lucas Cranach the Younger's powerful and colorful painting style still enthralls art enthusiasts today. The Protestant faith was the central theme of his work; a shining example of this is his painting of the "Dessauer Abendmahl", which portrays key personalities of the Reformation such as Martin Luther and Philipp Melanchthon.

Although a talented painter in his own right, Lucas Cranach the Younger lived in the shadow of his father's glory. Nevertheless, guests can visit a number of authentic sites tied to this great artist right here in LutherCountry, and especially in Lutherstadt Wittenberg.

Would you like to follow in the footsteps of the Cranach family? Then check out our recommended tour!